Globigerina Limestone


Chapel of Our Lady, Addolorata Cemetery, Paola, Malta

Local native name

Ġebla tal-franka

Year designation



Limestone, comprises planktonic foraminiferal biomicrites, biomicrosparites, wackestones and packstones dominated by globigerinid tests


Pale yellow to cream, often showing bioturbation

Geological settings

Cenozoic – Neogene – Miocene – Aquitanian – Globigerina Limestone Formation; forms part of the Oligo-Miocene ‘soft limestones’ found widely in the Mediterranean Basin


Mainly in the south-western part of the Island of Malta

Chapel of Our Lady, Addolorata Cemetery, Paola, Malta

More than 6000 years of history

This stone has been continuously used for building and sculpture for 6000 years. The most significant use of the Globigerina Limestone has been in the UNESCO recognised capital city of Valletta, and the similarly listed megalithic prehistoric Temples of Malta. The stone was exported also in the past (1909 – 1938), in reasonably significant amounts, to countries such as Italy, Greece and Libya. The greatest and best use of the stone prior to modern times was made during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, under the Knights of St John. These include numerous systems of fortifications (over 60 kilometers) which have recently been extensively restored. Also primarily built of this stone are the fortified city of Mdina, the old capital of Malta, the fortified Three Cities of the Grand Harbour area, as well as numerous villages spread all over the Maltese archipelago, characterised by magnificent and elaborate Baroque churches. This stone is mostly quarried and used today for restoration purposes.

Cathedral Museum, Mdina, Valetta, Malta

Valetta sea front, Malta

Joann Cassar